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Miami Criminal Defense Blog

What does a simple scam become wire fraud?

Wire fraud is one of those criminal charges that the government typically tacks onto a long list of other charges.

But what is wire fraud, exactly? Basically, any type of scam that intentionally defrauds another person or entity out of their money or property through the use of interstate wire communications -- even if incidentally -- can be considered wire fraud. The

How to protect yourself from police tactics

Nobody wants to live in a crime-infested neighborhood -- but it's important not to take away people's civil liberties and their right to due process in the name of safety.

All over America (including Florida), "crime-free" multi-unit housing programs are taking hold. Essentially, they're rental housing units and apartments where landlords and property managers enact swift bans on anyone that's even suspected of criminal activity.

Don't believe these myths about white collar crime

White collar crimes, including graft, money laundering, insider trading and tax fraud are commonly equated with theft or burglary, but studies have shown that the psychology of the white collar criminal is very different than that of the standard burglar. Unlike someone who is robbing a bank at gunpoint, white collar crimes embrace a kind of cognitive dissonance. Since the person committing the crime can't really see actual human victims, it's harder for them to recognize when they've gone over a line.

That kind of disassociation can also continue after they're charged. Here are some of the most common myths that white collar defendants buy into (to their detriment):

  1. Anti-corruption laws aren't being heavily enforced. There's a widespread belief that the current presidential administration isn't enforcing the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, for example, but this isn't actually true. The Department of Justice has been actively pursuing charges against major companies and individuals alike.
  2. Companies pay fines but executives don't go to prison. This also isn't true. The financial crisis of 2008 brought some permanent changes to how financial misconduct by executive officers is handled. Just ask the 56 bankers and traders that were sentenced to prison for their roles in that particular event.
  3. Judges are lenient on white collar criminals. If you still believe this, you haven't been paying attention to the news. Judges have less discretion than ever when it comes to federal sentencing laws. They often can't be lenient even if they're so inclined.
  4. Influential, wealthy defendants have nothing to fear. Again, this simply isn't so. Federal prosecutors are not gun-shy about using the full extent of their powers to build a powerful case against whatever defendant is in their sights.

Evidence shows that incarceration doesn't work

Florida has been undergoing something of a reformation, at least where its criminal justice system is concerned. Legislative changes have -- for the first time -- reversed the tough-as-nails approach to all drug offenses that the state adopted in the wake of the War on Drugs back in the 1990s. Now, judges will finally have some discretionary power when it comes time to sentence at least some first-time drug offenders.

Lest you think that officials have gotten softer on drug possession in the wake of changing social attitudes about marijuana, remember this: The move wasn't really intended to benefit defendants. Instead, it's designed largely to reduce the state's (and taxpayer's) expense for maintaining so many people in prison for long periods over low-level drug crimes.

Can the police use trickery and lies?

The COVID-19 virus has been making a lot of headlines around the nation. People are naturally concerned about how to stay safe.

Well, several police departments (including at least one here in Florida) decided that they might be able to take advantage of the growing anxiety surrounding the new coronavirus. They put out the word to the general public that any drugs that were obtained on the black market might be contaminated with the viral disease. These "helpful" police officials offered to do free testing on any drugs that the public cared to bring into the station. They even offered to meet worried residents in their homes if the drugs were too bulky to easily transport.

What's the difference between a commutation and a pardon?

There's been quite a bit of furor in the news these days over some recent presidential pardons and commutations. Both of those actions fall under the category of post-conviction relief. Here's what you should know about the differences between having your sentence commuted and getting a pardon, as they are not the same thing.

What's a pardon?

Florida loses another round on felon voting law

In Florida, a felony conviction has historically meant the end of your ability to vote -- a restriction that hails back to Jim Crow-era laws and tends to affect black voters disproportionally.

Amendment 4, or the Voting Rights Restoration for Felons Initiative, was supposed to enact the will of the people. In 2018, Floridians overwhelmingly voted to give the majority of felons their voting rights back after they'd completed their sentence and any parole or probation.

Pyramid schemes and multi-level marketing: What's the difference?

"Side gigs" are very common in America today. Almost everybody is an entrepreneur, of sorts, whether they're running a YouTube channel or driving for Uber. If you're looking for the right side gig for you, however, it's smart to know how to spot the difference between multi-level marketing (MLM) plans and pyramid schemes.

What's the difference?

White collar prosecutions: Where the focus lies for now

White collar criminal prosecutions are in the news a lot these days. Since it's always wise to know where investigative trends are going, let's take a look at what's been happening in late 2019 and where you may expect investigative efforts to focus next.

At the end of 2019, the Justice Department got tough on a number of high-level executives over issues related to the way that their companies reported their success to investors. Executives at the tech startup Outcome Health were indicted for both bank and wire fraud, falsification of documents, as well as other kinds of illegal misconduct for allegedly deceiving banks, clients and investors alike.

Florida drug overdoses lead to murder charges

Maybe you share your drugs with a friend who just had a back injury. Maybe you sold a few pills because you just needed to make the bills. Maybe you're just dealing enough to support your own habit. You're careful about who knows what you're doing, and you never engage in the kind of high-quantity deals that attract major investigations.

What's the worst that could happen? Well, you could end up charged with murder.

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